San Joaquin Valley air pollution officials have issued an air quality alert that extends into Saturday.
Sean Raffuse, an air-quality analyst at the Crocker Nuclear Laboratory at University of California in Davis, told the Reno Gazette-Journal that early estimates project the fires have already produced about 10,000 tons of PM2.5.
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Officials warn that very fine smoke particles, a fraction of the size of a human hair, can lodge in the lungs and, particularly in some vulnerable populations, do damage. Anyone being exposed to poor air quality or wildfire smoke should move inside to an air-conditioned environment. Usually the Bay Area benefits from a natural air conditioning system with winds blowing in off the coast and carrying the air inland. Residents should avoid outdoor activities, close windows and doors, and avoid using air-conditioning units, according to the warning.
A series of deadly California wildfires have burned through some 170,000 acres statewide, but heavy smoke from the disaster zones drifted farther still as pesky particles of dust, ash and soot entered the lungs of residents almost 100 miles away. But people in the East Bay and South Bay are not completely in the clear because the toxic air is creeping all over the region.
The smell of fire hangs in the air in San Francisco.
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At Kaiser Permanente in Richmond, volunteers said they had distributed far more protective face masks than usual. These individuals should limit their exposure to smoky air by staying indoors as much as possible.
Do not run fans drawing smoky air inside.
The issues with air quality are expected to extend into the weekend, a problem that's spurred the cancellation of the Virgin Sport "Festival of Fitness" planned for SF this weekend, event organizers say on their website.
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